|The Denbigh Project's
1999 two-month summer field season began June 1. The team assembled for the summer
fieldwork represented three nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and France --
which, coincidentally, are the same nations whose investors had Denbigh fitted
out as a blockade runner in 1863.
Objectives for the
1999 summer field season include completing mapping of the exposed remains of the Denbigh
wreck, identifying key features of the structure of the vessel, and conducting test
excavations in selected locations to determine how well the ship's fittings, machinery and
cargo have been preserved.
The Denbigh Project crew operate out of Texas
A&M Galveston (TAMUG), which has generously provided the use of its facilities for
project activities. In addition to its full-time field season staff, the Denbigh
Project also has recruited a number of volunteers, including John and Jeff Erskine, Jim
Cornette, Nathan Blakemore and Laura Masters, an undergraduate at TAMUG.
||Denbigh Project team members Richard Cane (l.) and Jim
Cornette cut down plastic drums for use in the project's conservation lab. Artifacts
recovered from the ship will be kept in water until they can be transported to the main
lab at Texas A&M in College Station.
Erskine (l.) and his son Jeff prepare to dive on the Denbigh wreck site.
John Erskine's great-grandfather, Robert Horlock, was a member of Denibigh's crew on its
final trips through the blockade.
diver Sara Keyes prepares to go over-the-side on the wreck site. Keyes, a graduate
student in nautical archaeology at Texas A&M in Colege Station, is a veteran of the
LaSalle Shipwreck Project of 1995-97.
technology-intensive field of nautical archaeology, it takes a delicate and sensitive
touch to keep things running. Project diver Marc-Elie Pau (left) finesses a baulky
fitting with a sledge hammer as (l. to r.) Eric Van Velzen, Barto Arnold and Sara Keyes
the morning diving on the wreck, Assistant Project Director Tom Oertling takes a moment
to, er, ruminate on the afternoon's activities.
Finally, the Denbigh
Project team would like to thank Texas A&M
University at Galveston for its generous assistance throughout the course of the
project, and particularly during the 1999 Summer Field Season. Gig 'em, Sea Aggies!